September 25, 2011

THE HIGH PRICE OF COSMETIC SURGERY:

The Side Effects? Well, There Is One... (Tara Parker-Pope, 9/24/11, NY Times)

The reality for many of the 240,000 men in the United States in whom prostate cancer is diagnosed each year is not all that rosy, at least when it comes to their intimate lives. After surgery and radiation treatments, many men quickly discover that sex will never be normal again. Sensations change. Many men can no longer achieve erections without pumps or pills. For some, the ability to have sex goes away entirely.

Yet, for years, men facing prostate cancer surgery have been reassured by their doctors, who could cite studies in prominent medical journals, that their sex lives would be just fine after treatment. Doctors would often boast of sexual recovery rates in excess of 90 percent, but failed to disclose that those numbers applied to a select group of patients rather than to most men who walked in the door.

Now, research published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association finally offers men some straight talk about what to expect from treatment for prostate cancer. The findings, based on a study of 1,000 men in different treatment centers, suggests that surgery and radiation treatments take a far greater toll on male potency than most men are led to believe. Among men in the study who reported good sex lives before cancer, fewer than half were able to achieve normal erections two years after treatment.


Prostate cancer screenings: a second opinion: Doctors are rethinking the value of the tests because the disease is rarely a killer and the treatment can do serious harm. (H. Gilbert Welch, 4/01/09, LA Times))
I probably have prostate cancer.

There's no need to feel sorry for me -- so do about half the men my age (I'm in my mid-50s). We doctors have learned this from microscopic examinations of the prostates of men who are autopsied following an accidental death. And the older men get, the more likely it is that they have prostate cancer. Autopsies of men in their 70s have found that about 80% of them had the disease.

I almost certainly won't die from prostate cancer, however. The lifetime risk of prostate cancer death for American males is only about 3%. So, although the prevalence of the cancer may sound alarming, 97% of men will die from something else.


Posted by at September 25, 2011 6:29 AM
  

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